About to embark on that long dreamed of restoration project? Whether you’re restoring a classic tourer, a once-proud track star, or just breathing new life into a daily driver, it can be an exciting, yet daunting process. These 10 tips will help save your sanity.
Polish Old Glass
Chances are good that the glass in your car is less than perfect – hazing, spotting and minor scratches make visibility poor. You can certainly replace that glass, but a cheaper option might be just as effective. Buy a glass polishing kit and you might be able to polish all those imperfections away.
Plastic headlight and taillight lenses dull with age and exposure to the elements. The same tip used above for your glass can be used to bring existing plastic lenses back to life.
Silicone on Your Door Seals
Do your replacement door seals seem like they’re grabbing or sticking to the new paint on the body? A quick spray with a decent silicone aerosol will stop that.
Only Invest in Tools When Necessary
You’ll need to use a wide range of tools in your restoration project, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on them. Buy only what you must and rent the rest from an auto part supplier.
Unless you’re planning to auction the car off immediately, your restoration project should be less about making the car completely original and more about pleasing yourself with the project.
If you’ll be doing bodywork, it’s best to leave it for the professionals unless you have the experience, tools, and space.
Again, this one is best left to the pros, with the exception of minor touch-ups and hand-painted details.
Go over the car’s wiring harness with a fine-toothed comb. Also, make sure you have an accurate wiring schematic, so you know what is supposed to go where. Electrical problems can be incredibly frustrating, so be thorough here. You should also be prepared to upgrade the car’s electrics to something a bit more modern to support today’s usage requirements.
If you spot mould, chances are good that you can clean it from the upholstery but realise that this is an indication the cabin might not be weathertight. You’ll need to locate and plug all the holes. This can be time consuming, but it is vital that you get it right.
Shop at Motor Fairs
Struggling to find the right replacement seats? Need original engine components and can’t find them anywhere? Motor fairs should be your go-to solution. With most fairs, you’ll find private sellers, collectors, and fellow restoration buffs all selling items that you can use. Browse the stalls at these events and you might be surprised at just what you can find.
Follow these 10 tips and your restoration project should go a bit smoother, with fewer hassles and setbacks to derail your enjoyment. And, when in doubt, never be afraid to ask for advice or even hand the project over to a professional.